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Scientific groups remove BYU job posts over school's LGBTQ policy

The posts required applicants to abide by Brigham Young University's honor code, which includes a ban on homosexual behavior.

SALT LAKE CITY — Two well-known scientific groups have dropped job postings from their websites from Brigham Young University because of the school's LGBTQ policies, igniting a debate on whether research organizations should take a stance on social issues.

The Washington-based American Geophysical Union and the Colorado-based Geological Society of America took down the ads amid mounting pressure from members, the Salt Lake Tribune reported Monday.

Both groups say the ads require applicants to abide by the school's honor code, which includes a ban on homosexual behavior. Members of both nonprofits criticized the ads as discriminatory.

The Geological Society of America, which has 27,000 members, told the newspaper it has returned the $800 cost of the job post to BYU.

BYU spokeswoman Carri Jenkins declined to comment.

The Provo, Utah, university is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and mandates students follow the code that also prohibits premarital sex and the consumption of alcohol among other rules.

The code prohibits "not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings."

As a private school and religious institution, the school can legally maintain the honor code.

Benjamin Abbott, a professor in BYU's College of Life Sciences, believes dropping the ads limits diversity in religious ideologies.

"It removes an opportunity for a diverse candidate from outside of the BYU system from finding the job," Abbott said. "If we want to learn from and potentially influence others, we shouldn't cut them off."

Ellen Alexander, a doctoral student in geology at UCLA who identifies as LGBTQ, was one of several people who complained on social media after the American Geophysical Union initially declined to take the ad down.

"That ideology does not deserve an equal seat at the table," Alexander said. "It's not a belief. It's discrimination."

Other national groups have previously faced controversy for collaborating with BYU. The Society for Political Methodology apologized in April 2018 for holding an annual conference at the school. The group said many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender participants declined to take part. As a result, the group relocated several conference events off-campus.

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